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College Breaks & Keeping Old Bedrooms

Posted by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM
  • 11 Replies

 I am looking for some advice from anyone who has been through this or who has a good idea. 

My DH and I are the custodial parents of my two sons (5 and 7) and his two daughters (8 and 17).  We have three bedrooms for the kids.  My question is "What do you do when the oldest starts college and moves away to the dorm?  Don't you have to reserve her old room for her for those long summer months and the month-long (at least) Christmas break?"  Currently, the girls have their own rooms and my sons share a room.  My husband insists that this summer when our oldest goes away to college, that our 8-year0old will take her old room, and then the boys will get their own room.  

But what about all the college breaks?  DH says that when she comes home on breaks, that she can stay with the then-9-year-old.  I don't think that is so wise.  Our youngest girl is precocious enough already - we don't need her being exposed to "grown-up college things" at such a young age: pics on an iphone, grown-up clothes or personal effects (you get what I mean).  Because honestly, the oldest girl does nothing to keep grown-up things away from her little sister - she just doesn't think to protect her innocence (i.e., she'll watch scandalous MTV shows in front of her, leave her razors and mace out where the little one can get them - and has, etc.) Plus - our 9-year-old will be near hitting puberty and will be doing her best to grow up too fast anyway (something she already tries to do).

So I don't know what to do.  DH says there is no point keeping an empty room open for someone who will barely be home to use it.  I wonder if we need to for rthe first year.  Also, SD will surely be splitting the time between with us and at her mother's house too.

Any ideas? Thanks so much!  I am one concerned stepmama!

by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM
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Replies (1-10):
looneytunes290
by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Sorry bu I agree with your hubby on this one - she won't be there enough to influence the kid that much. And at 9 she should be able to handle small amounts of exposure to those kinda things- my daughter is 10 and shaves her legs? Is that bad?
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whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I would keep the room for her, until she gets an off-campus apartment. Or at the very least, through her first year of college. She may want to come home and relax for an occasional weekend, who knows how stressful her first year of college will be. I know both my college kids liked having that room  here, waiting for them. My DD21 now lives off campus (junior) so we took her room and made it a guest room, which she can stay in when she comes home to visit. My DS18 (freshman) still has his entire room just as he left it.

Ms.Gwen
by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM
I agree with your hubby to. If it's that big of a problem then get a sleeper sofa in the living or family room.
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whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on May. 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I guess if you do take her bedroom away, she can always just stay with her mother during breaks, since she will still have her bedroom there (I am presuming).

CherryBlossom4
by on May. 7, 2012 at 5:07 PM

I agree with your husband. Your younger daughter lives there full time, the older girl will not. It is absolutely unfair to reserve a room for someone that will only be there in spurts. 

17 is PLENTY old enough to understand keeping things away from her little sibling. If she doesn't understand that, maybe she should stay at her moms if it is possible. 

LucyHarper
by on May. 7, 2012 at 5:11 PM

In most families that I know with that kind of situation, when the college kid comes home, the child who moved into their room moves back into their old shared room for the time. I would have the two boys share a room during that time and have the girls in their own rooms. I personally would rather have 5 and 7 year old boys who are used to living together share a room for a couple months a year rather then make a 17 year old college kid share a room with a nine year old. 

DDDaysh
by on May. 7, 2012 at 9:34 PM

I grew up in a large family  and my parents didn't "keep my room" for me after I moved out.  However, when I came back for the summer, then the brother who had taken my room (I only have brothers, no sisters) was temporarily displaced for the summer. 

pdxmum
by Ruby Member on May. 7, 2012 at 9:52 PM
While it might be nice for your older SD to keep her own room, when you have 2 kids that live there fulltime sharing a room, that doesn't seem quite fair.

Have you asked the kids what they want?

And as far as younger sister getting exposed, that can happen even without sharing a room. Parent the older girl and appeal to her new role as "adult".
pdxmum
by Ruby Member on May. 7, 2012 at 10:28 PM
But none of your kids have to share a room. You really think a room should stay empty once someone starts college while others share?

DD17 has a huge room and DD15 has an overblown closet. I plan on letting DD15 have DD17s room.

I would not eliminate her living space, but she should not get more than the kids that still live with us.


Quoting whatIknownow:

I would keep the room for her, until she gets an off-campus apartment. Or at the very least, through her first year of college. She may want to come home and relax for an occasional weekend, who knows how stressful her first year of college will be. I know both my college kids liked having that room  here, waiting for them. My DD21 now lives off campus (junior) so we took her room and made it a guest room, which she can stay in when she comes home to visit. My DS18 (freshman) still has his entire room just as he left it.


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JustaSM231
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2012 at 1:10 AM

This. Also, have you even asked the boys if they want their own room.  I know my step-daughters who are 4 years difference in age hated sleeping apart when we first moved them into separate rooms.  They are 8 and 12, almost 9 and 13, and still like to sleep in the same room together on the weekends.  And when oldest comes home from college she will definitely have different hours and different things going on in her life that she probably doesn't want to share with a 9 year old.  And the boys will probably get a kick out of sharing a room together again for a short time.  You can put up a small sheet tent and put sleeping bags down and they could "camp" together for the summer.   Just a thought.

Quoting LucyHarper:

In most families that I know with that kind of situation, when the college kid comes home, the child who moved into their room moves back into their old shared room for the time. I would have the two boys share a room during that time and have the girls in their own rooms. I personally would rather have 5 and 7 year old boys who are used to living together share a room for a couple months a year rather then make a 17 year old college kid share a room with a nine year old. 


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